I've been looking throughout the recently unveiled Microsoft Architecture Resource Center. I'm quite excited about the new site, and the overall approach Microsoft seems to be giving to the topic; I believe it is a step in the right direction.

Of course, once can't talk about the new resource center without mentioning the recently announced Microsoft Certified Architect program. I've been very (and vocally) critical of the MCP program, mainly because I believe that the developer certification exams did not really reflect actual first-hand experience with the products, but rather just a bunch of facts commited to memory (this is my opinion, YMMV)... I've seen way to many people that can pass those just by memorizing the dumps that can be found over the internet and that really lack the most basic knowledge of how the platform works. This is the reason I've only taken one MCP exam myself :)

However, the new architecture program really seems like something that has the makings of a rather meaningful and important certification. I really like the concept of a certification program that ensures experience in the topic at hand and that is multi-faceted as the new architect program, taking both technical and non-technical skills and knowledge into account. And the idea of having a review board and assigning mentors to candidates is very sound and very appealing to me, as it gives the candidate not only a chance to certify himself but also learn from others during the process.

Of course, as with everything, we'll have to see how it all pans out, but I'm very optimistic that this will turn into widely recogniced certification, and something I might even want to persue myself a few years down the road. The only thing I'm concerned about (not knowing about the program more than what appears on the website) is how it will be handled outside of the USA and EMEA, which is probably where the program will start first and where the initial critical mass (and availability of suitable candidates and experts might be). In particular, I'm certainly interested in how it might be implemented in Latin America...

Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.